Dipsomaniacs The Life You're Faking

It's becoming a familiar refrain, but 2001 is emerging as the best year for power pop since Jean Chretien made an honest living. And New Jersey's Dipsomaniacs are way out in front of the already estimable pack; they have that rare ability to rock it without losing one iota of hookiness or melody. When most bands try that they end up verging on metal or punk, but when the Dipsos lean into it they simply end up playing harder, not heavier. There have been precious few bands with that ability - the Replacements had it and so did the Plimsouls. You can hear plenty of both those outfits here and can add other sonic echoes like the Flamin' Groovies, Hoodoo Gurus, Cheap Trick and Sloan. There's a little jangle here, a big honking power chord there, sweet but not treacly harmonies everywhere (contrasting nicely with lead singer and writer Mick Chorba's raspy, soulful vocals), and more hooks than a tackle box. "Everyday" both opens and closes the LP (in two different versions) and echoes what is possibly the best power pop song ever written, the Plimsouls' "A Million Miles Away." "Rubber Soul" may have a Beatles nod in the title but musically it's a shimmering mix of the Grass Roots and the La's. And pop songs just don't get much better than the luminous "This Heart Be True." These guys aren't faking anything; they're the real deal. (Facedown)